Allotments

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 17:36

I might like to think of May as the start of summer, but I’ve also seen May bank holidays ruined by gales and heavy rain, and even a late cold snap.

So it’s worth ensuring broad bean plants are supported in case of strong winds and that potatoes are earthed up to protect new shoots from frost damage.

As summer approaches and the weather warms up, the less hardy seedlings can be planted out, including sweet peas and climbing beans.

I’m recycling some sycamore poles to make wigwams this year, which will hopefully be sturdy enough to withstand both the weight of the growing plants and the Norfolk winds.

I’ll also be making sure the soil is warmed through before I plant out. No seedling likes to be plunged into cold soil and runner beans in particular sulk horribly if you do so.

May is also the month of the Chelsea Flower Show, where vegetable gardens have had a bit of a renaissance.

A few years ago, one featured a raised strawberry bed that used gravel instead of straw as the mulch. As well as protecting them from slugs and rot, the gravel reflected the heat and helped the berries to ripen. I may give the idea a try.

There are a few empty plots at the allotments this year, so if you fancy giving allotment gardening a go, have a word with the town clerk, Jo Boxall.

Most plots have raspberry canes and whoever takes over the empty plot next to mine will inherit some magnificent artichoke plants, too.

Fellow allotmenteers often have extra seedlings to help you get started, and the annual cost of a half plot is less than £1 a week, with exercise, fresh air and sunshine included for free.

Sarah Oates

  • To ask about renting an allotment, contact: Jo Boxall, Town Clerk 01603 873355 or email
  • For information on joining RALGA, email or write via the allotment post box.